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Rick Civelli – Founder/President

As a kid, Rick Civelli spent his summers clamming, fishing, and of course surfing. Without realizing it, his appreciation for environmental conservation was ingrained before his teens. He graduated from UNC-Wilmington with his Bachelors in Environmental Studies. During college and after graduation he worked as a marine science educator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. For three years he developed and facilitated programs while teaching thousands of adults and children about the wonders of our coastal ecosystems. During both his undergraduate and graduate studies, he was an assistant director for UNCW’s Marine Science Summer Camp Program.

To broaden his professional development he later worked as a permit and enforcement officer for the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. Taking a different approach to environmental conservation, he reviewed and permitted coastal development projects, and issued fines for remediation of impacted coastal resources. Rick sat on the Board of Directors for the Society of Masonboro Island and is a member the Surfrider Foundation, and the NC Aquarium Society. He also spent 3 years pursuing a Masters Degree in Coastal Geology from UNC-Wilmington’s Center for Marine Science where he studied coastal processes.

In the winter of 1995, Rick developed a marine science educational learn to surf program for our local aquarium which he called “Surf’s Up”. Since then he has taught thousands of students of all ages the sport of surfing while enlightening them of the wonders of our coastal environment.

His travels have brought him to surf and study coastal processes and habitats all over the world. He has explored coral reefs in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Anegada, Antigua, Bermuda, Jost Van Dyke, St Lucia, St Thomas, St John, and St Martin. He has swam with sea turtles in, Tortola, Baja Mexico, Barbados, and Costa Rica, sharks in Looe Key national marine sanctuary, sting rays in the Bahamas, sea lions in Peru, and dolphins off Key West Florida.

He has surfed up and down the east coast from Nantucket to Block Island to Cape Hatteras to Sebastian inlet. He has also caught many epic swells on the West coast from Morro Bay to Tourmaline San Diego. On several occasions Rick has also ventured to the North Shore of Oahu, where he visited famous surf breaks including Waimea Bay, Pipeline, Sunset and Sandy Beach.

With his love for surfing and utmost respect for the ocean and it’s resources, Rick has developed this unparalleled fun experience known as “WB Surf Camp.”

Jen Civelli – Founder

Jen’s first experience with sea turtles was the beginning of a lifelong commitment to sea turtle conservation and taking care of our oceanic resources.  She started volunteering at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital & Rehabilitation Center in 2001.

Jen has fifteen years of experience in higher education as an instructor of Chemistry at both Cape Fear Community College and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  Jen loves to teach and educate today’s youth and young adult population, especially in the field of sea turtles and coastal conservation.

Jen’s passion for the marine environment started living along the California coast while in college.  Jen received her Bachelors’ degree in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.  Her passion followed her to San Diego State University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Chemistry.

Jen loves to travel and experience new environments and cultures.  She especially loves warm-water surf destinations where she can spend time in the water with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.  Jen can often be found on a sporting field cheering on her boys’ games!

Kasey Schollenberger – Program Director

Kasey was born and raised in Toms River, New Jersey. Growing up on the Jersey Shore, she was able to visit the beach year round and develop a true connection to the ocean and all of the related wildlife and ecosystems. At a very young age, she knew that she wanted to spend her life developing her passion for the ocean and marine life.

In 2008, Kasey moved to North Carolina to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). While completing her degree, she volunteered and interned at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Soon after graduating, Kasey interned at the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension Service and Aquarium as an environmental educator. This is where her passion for environmental education flourished. Following that internship, Kasey decided to further her education and returned to UNCW to pursue a Master’s of Science degree in Environmental Science and Coastal Management. Kasey has a wide variety of education experience in the fields of marine and environmental science, which have all deepened her love for public outreach and all things related to the marine environment.

When Kasey isn’t teaching about the ocean, she can be found at the beach reading a book, hiking, kayaking, or doing just about anything outdoors! She is very excited to have found her way back to Wilmington and loves that she gets to spend winters in North Carolina instead of freezing in New Jersey!

Chase O’Briant – Program Coordinator

Chase was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina.  He taught himself how to surf at the age of eight, and grew up surfing the north side of Crystal Pier in Wrightsville Beach.   When he isn’t surfing, Chase spends most of his time fishing, tending his garden, or writing music.  In high school, Chase was the founder and president of his school’s Surf Club, he played varsity soccer, was deeply involved in the local music community, and earned the Eagle Scout Award.

Chase graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018 with a degree in English and Political Science.  One of the highlights from his years in school was being a student when the Tar Heels won the 2017 NCAA Basketball Championship.   As a student, Chase worked as a lifeguard at the campus pool, and coached campus-league soccer teams in both the men’s and co-ed divisions, winning one title in the co-ed division.  It was during this time that Chase became a surf instructor with WB Surf Camp.

Chase started as a Surf Lesson Instructor in 2016, he then moved into the role of Day Surf Camp Unit Leader, spent time in Costa Rica guiding our travel programs, and later joined our administration team as a Program Coordinator. As a Wilmington local, Chase has extensive knowledge of the beaches in the area, has proven his ability as an excellent surf coach, and is passionate about spreading his love for coastal culture.

Mead Krówka – Program Coordinator

Born outside Chicago, Illinois, Mead has always been drawn to the water. In 2008, Mead moved with his family to Asheville, NC, where he volunteered at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, sparking his interest in the natural world. This led to Mead becoming PADI Open Water Dive certified in 2014, PADI Rescue Diver certified in 2017, and maintaining continuous American Red Cross Lifeguard certification since 2015.

In 2017, Mead moved to Wilmington to begin his career at UNCW. It was at this time he learned to surf and has been in the water with every given opportunity since. Since then, he has been experimenting with different board shapes and styles, his favorite board being a 6’1 Single Fin Bonzer. During his time at UNCW, Mead was a member of the UNCW SCUBA Club and an intern for the Alliance for Cape Fear Trees. He also completed a directive individual study in 2020, studying the diet of the Greater Northern Galago primates, publishing his research in the American Journal of Biological Anthropology.

Mead graduated magna cum laude in 2021 with a B.S. in Environmental Science, a B.A. in Anthropology, and a Chemistry minor. Immediately following, he became the Sea Turtle Camp SCUBA Marine Educator, before transitioning to his current position as the WB Surf Camp Program Coordinator. In his free time, Mead is most likely surfing on Wrightsville Beach. He also enjoys shaping surfboard fins, exploring shipwrecks, and enjoying all the natural beauty coastal NC has to offer!

Bailey Kaufman – Program Coordinator

Bailey grew up year-round on Fire Island, New York. She spent her entire childhood on the sands of the tiny barrier island, always doing her part educating visitors, local communities, and other parties about her hometowns’ wildlife, history, and environmental issues. She has deep love and respect for the ocean and all it offers. Her goal is to help others feel the same by educating them about the importance of marine and coastal ecosystems.

In 2016, Bailey ventured to St. Augustine, Florida, to receive her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and a minor in Spanish at Flagler College. She was an active member of the college’s sustainability club and always volunteered within the community. During her final semester, Bailey interned at Anastasia State Park and gained abundant experience working with Florida’s wildlife, especially with sea turtles! After graduating in 2020, she completed a 50-week AmeriCorps service term through Conservation Legacy, serving as the Community Volunteer Ambassador for Fire Island National Seashore. During this time, her interest in conservation, community outreach, and environmental education grew stronger. She is currently enhancing her outdoor teaching skills and science/nature content knowledge through the North Carolina Environmental Education Certificate program.

Bailey spends her free time surfing, painting, hiking, cooking, practicing yoga, and exploring nature. She loves to travel and encourages individuals to travel sustainably and support local communities!

Michaela LeMay – Program Coordinator

Michaela was born and raised in Massachusetts and moved to South Carolina in 2014. She decided to trade in the cold, snowy winters for warmer weather and the coast and has since fallen for the beauty of the Carolinas. She completed her undergrad at Coastal Carolina University in Marine Science with a Biology minor.

After graduating, she started her career as a park ranger with SC State Parks. While working for the organization she was able to rediscover a passion of educating youth about the natural resources of the coast. Inspired by her work, Michaela decided to return to school and is almost finished with her master’s in Youth Development and Leadership at Clemson University.

While working for SC State Parks, she volunteered with SCDNR’s Sea Turtle stranding and nesting programs. She spent four summers responding to sea turtle strands, working on sea turtle nests, and educating the public in Myrtle Beach, SC. Due to her work with sea turtles, Michaela is a very early riser and with her free time can be found reading, somewhere outside, or searching for something new to learn.

Icah Wilmot – Ambassador – Adult and Teen Travel Coach (Costa Rica and Caribbean)

As Jamaica’s first pro-surfer, ISA level 2 surf coach, and the holder of countless championship titles, Icah is deeply invested in the surfing community. In addition to teaching surf lessons in Jamaica, Icah also coaches Jamaica’s Paralympic team of surfers.

His father founded the Jamaica Surf Association, as well as owns and operates Jamaica’s longest running surf school, Jamnesia.  In fact, Icah still makes time between work and competitions to surf, teach, and jam around the campfire with his family.  Today, Icah Wilmot is a household name in Jamaica and in the world of surfing.

Despite a long list of surfing accomplishments, Icah is best known for his warm and friendly personality, along with his humble and sociable attitude towards all his fellow ocean lovers.  Whether you are a new surfing grom or seasoned shredder, Icah welcomes you to the water with encouragement and positivity that will truly make you feel like a surfer!

Adam Woeste - Travel Coach / Private Surf Instructor

Adam was born in Cincinnati, Ohio were he quickly learned he was born in the wrong state. He consistently sought out the community and culture that surrounds the beach and found himself running off to the waves every chance he got. Adam began surfing at the age of 15 and was immediately hooked, so much so, that 5 years ago he became a local. Adam lives in Wilmington, NC with his wife and their 1.5 year old son. Adam has been teaching surf lessons for 4 summers now and couldn’t think of a more perfect way to spend his days. Adam describes surfing as being the perfect combination of all aspects in life. He says, “surfing is physically challenging, emotionally uplifting, and spiritually connected.” In the offseason Adam is a 9th grade English teacher at Cape Fear Academy. He has always been drawn to instructing, mentoring, and teaching those with a desire to learn. When he is not teaching or instructing, you can find him playing beach volleyball with his wife, running off to rock climb in the mountains, or taking life slow with his beautiful baby boy.